Forrest Gump (1994)
September 21, 2022 10:17 AM - Subscribe

Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks), a man of limited intellectual resources has accomplished great things in his life and been present during significant historic events... in each case, far exceeding what anyone imagined he could do. But despite all he has achieved, his one true love (Robin Wright) eludes him.

Also starring Sally Field, Gary Sinise, and Mykelti Williamson.

Screenplay by Eric Roth, based on the novel by Winstom Groom. Directed by Robert Zemeckis.

Generally acclaimed at the time of its release, the film has now slid to a 71% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Available for digital rental in the US on multiple outlets. JustWatch listing.

Recently remade in Hindi as Laall Singh Chaddha, starring Aamir Khan.
posted by DirtyOldTown (17 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Why post this movie? It's the very highest rated film on iMDb that isn't on FanFare, so... yeah.

And to be fair, the "Critics Consensus" blurb on RT is pretty accurate: "Forrest Gump may be an overly sentimental film with a somewhat problematic message, but its sweetness and charm are usually enough to approximate true depth and grace."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:17 AM on September 21, 2022 [5 favorites]

Rare thing of a movie being better than the book. (yeesh) But besides being sheer Boomer nostalgia, I may have been influenced by my film mentor who hated this movie with a fiery passion since he felt the message was about the success of idiocy.
posted by drewbage1847 at 10:41 AM on September 21, 2022 [2 favorites]

One year, some time after this film was out, I was at an Oscar broadcast party at a friend's apartment; when Tom Hanks was coming out to present something, and the orchestra was playing the Forest Gump theme song as his entry music. We all burst out laughing when we saw Tom hesitate for a second, then roll his eyes slightly as he walked to the podium.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:46 AM on September 21, 2022 [6 favorites]

Ah, the film that shows the best possible way to have experienced American history in the previous century was to be white, stupid, and lucky.

I went to see this the week it came out and it left me with such a bad taste in my mouth and I really couldn’t have said why at the time. There were things I liked. The effects that put Tom Hanks into scenes with JFK and other folks were really cool and cutting edge. All the actors do good work. I especially enjoyed Mykelti Williamson as Bubba. I felt like he did something way more interesting than Hanks was doing. The soundtrack was full of songs I liked but I HATED the clichéd ways they were used.

Now, I think I would add that it doesn’t sit well with me that what seems to be a developmental disability is treated like a joke. Except for the key moments when they want to milk it for sentimental dramatic moments. I guess I also don’t like its “Boomer Mythology” vibe.
posted by wabbittwax at 11:59 AM on September 21, 2022 [11 favorites]

I have disdained this movie since before it even came out, because I had to go around the filming to get to class one day. When I saw it, I rolled my eyes at how patently faux-nostalgia/Oscar-baity it was, and was actively angry when it beat three better nominees and several more movies that weren't even nominated (yeah, I'll say it: Speed deserved a nomination for Best Picture more than Forrest Gump).

But over the intervening years, I've caught it a few times on cable, and you know... it's not bad bad. It's overrated, yes. By a lot. But it's a perfectly acceptable movie, a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours. If there had been a pre-Oscars backlash and it didn't get nominated or at least hadn't won... probably it would be remembered far more fondly in general than it is.
posted by Etrigan at 12:03 PM on September 21, 2022 [2 favorites]

When I was in college the local paper decided to do a piece about why this movie was so awesome and popular. They called the college of fine & performing arts looking for a film "expert" to weigh in. Somehow I got the call (I was an older student and I had started a filmmaking club, I guess that qualified me).

When I talked to the reporter I said that Zemeckis never lets the audience have their own feelings - the music and the directing are so heavy-handed that there's no room for the audience to authentically engage with the film. I also said casting Hanks was a huge mistake. I felt everyone knew him too well and it would be impossible for him to disappear into the role, that we'd always be watching Tom Hanks pretending to be this developmentally disabled person. I thought they should have cast an unknown actor in the role. I had a number of other criticisms too. Basically I thought it was a terrible move and that only people with poor taste would like it.

The newspaper included exactly zero of my comments in their article.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 12:13 PM on September 21, 2022 [14 favorites]

I'm glad I'm not the only one who didn't enjoy this film.As someone who learned to walk in leg braces and wore them until a surgery when I was 12, I was very much not pleased with this film. That whole breaking out of the braces to run scene, I am still pissed about it because reinforces that ol ableist chestnut that disabled people just need to properly motivated and they are magically cured.
posted by miss-lapin at 2:11 PM on September 21, 2022 [7 favorites]

I never really really liked this movie. Which is weird considering I saw it in the theater and watched it on TV enough times. I even have the soundtrack on CD. Everything in the movie, Forrest, Jenny, Tom Hanks, is too vanilla for me. About the only high point is Gary Sinise who had a nice run during the 90s and then went AWOL with the Lt. Dan Band (seriously, enough can't be said about Gary's charity work for vets). Plus, "Forrest Gump" is pretty much a nostalgia trip for Boomers. So I wonder how well the movie will hold up/resonate when the touchstones that Forrest participated in (stuff I am well aware of as a child of the 80s) pass from living memory.
posted by Stuka at 4:18 PM on September 21, 2022 [1 favorite]

But it's a perfectly acceptable movie, a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours.

You are right, no doubt. But my cousin said it was the most profound thing he had ever seen, and my cousin is a horrible person. [I liked Gary Sinise. That was all.]
posted by acrasis at 4:33 PM on September 21, 2022 [2 favorites]

Mr. gudrun and I are later cohort Boomers (so a bit younger than the Forrest character). We hated this movie then, and it has not improved as time has gone on. This ---> the best possible way to have experienced American history in the previous century was to be white, stupid, and lucky. The movie is such a flattened and sweetened version of the time it purports to portray, and all the supposed touchstones rang so hollow. Gary Sinise indeed seemed like the only half way decently written character. My cousins were the age of Forrest and his peers (one was a doctor in Vietnam) and the way those characters are portrayed just does not ring true to that generation as we knew it at the time. We started watching the movie and after a bit it just became a hate watch.
posted by gudrun at 5:04 PM on September 21, 2022 [3 favorites]

As a non-american when I first watched this quite a few years ago I didn't get the referencing of US important moments/music/US Vietnam war stuff. It just seemed like an ok movie so its definitely a US boomer movie.
posted by Lesium at 3:54 AM on September 22, 2022 [2 favorites]

I remember reading the book a few years after the film was released and just...being blown away by how different it was. All the sugar of the film was spun from vinegar, this wry, cheeky man with more depth than that feather on a box of chocolates. If you hate the film, try the book - I suspect the literary Gump would have a similar reaction.
posted by Jilder at 5:10 AM on September 22, 2022 [2 favorites]

There's a sequel book called Gump & Co. written with the premise that Forrest is a real person, the movie was a biopic, and he hated it. In that one, everything he touches turns to shit. He invents New Coke, for one.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:10 AM on September 22, 2022 [3 favorites]

Absolutely wild that this movie inspired a mid-tier seafood restaurant chain.
posted by meese at 10:18 AM on September 22, 2022 [3 favorites]

I know a lot of consensus is that the movie isn't actually that good but I don't care. I love it. Growing up my brother and I would watch it all the time and then quiz each other on how many Jenny boats Forrest had or try to outdo each other by reciting as much of the movie as possible without a single mistake and so on. It was a part of my childhood and I can watch it anytime and still enjoy it.
posted by downtohisturtles at 10:41 AM on September 22, 2022 [2 favorites]

I think as a Best Picture Winner with Serious Things to Teach Us All About Life, it's a real piece of shit.

As just a movie, just a sweet character study of a simple-minded fellow blown around like a feather by life, it's enjoyable, in its way.

I really do want to see the Hindi version with Aamir Khan, who is the best, but can't bring myself to pay to see it in a theater, given the shaky reviews.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:50 AM on September 22, 2022

Oh cool... just saw that the aforementioned Hindi remake Laal Singh Chaddhais coming to streaming on October 20.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:58 AM on September 22, 2022

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